“I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night.”
My marathon training doesn’t leave too much room for races, but I managed to get a 4-miler in last Friday. This was the Miles over the Moon race in Salem, MA, an 8 PM race around a very historic city. When I first signed up, I was worried about how hot it might be since the race took place in mid-July. However, we have been having a bit of a cold spell this week, so it was comfortably in the 60’s during the race.
I wasn’t sure how I wanted to treat this race, since I knew I had a 10-mile training run the following morning. It was my first time doing a 4-mile race so any time I got would be a PR. When they announced the start, I tried hard to hold back my speed. I kept telling myself this was just a warm up run and not a real race. But it was hard with so many people in my running club competing in the same race. Eventually about 2 miles in, I was able to keep calm and not think about it. I just let the run take me along and I stopped worrying about what anyone else was doing. I was able to push myself just enough to feel satisfied with my first race in many weeks. Crossing the finish line, I ended up with a time of 35:34, which is pretty close to my usual 5K pace. Running a 4 mile race was tough at first because once you reach 3 miles, you come to the realization that you have to keep it going for one more mile. I was able to keep a consistent speed after mile 3, which gave me hope that my endurance was getting better after my running break this spring.
The course was pretty flat, with just a few slight uphills and downhills. It went through a few neighborhoods and streets in downtown Salem. We also ran around a very scenic area by the water known as Collins Cove. We passed it on the way out and on the way back and both times I wished I could take a photo, but obviously that was out of the question. The race ended at Salem Common and when I saw the park, I knew the end was near. It felt longer than expected running through the common, but finally I saw the red numbers of the time clock. I sprinted over the finish line, gasping for air. It felt good to race again, even though I knew I would pay for it the next day on my long run. The thought “Lori is going to kill me tomorrow if I can’t move my legs properly” came into my head more than once.
I saw quite a few of my running club teammates cross the finish line. I even got a nice comment from one saying she was very happy following my pace. That felt really good – almost as good as my runner’s high. After the race, there was a small party at the Knights of Columbus which was perfect for getting away from the mosquitoes. This was definitely a fun race and it was a nice change racing on a Friday night. It was also a nice precursor to a night out, since it took place so close to the bars in downtown Salem. I would definitely consider doing this one again, even in normal sticky July temps.